Saturday, 27 September 2008

P.J. Proby launches new official website

The legendary singer has launched his own OFFICIAL website @

Remember for more information on the 2008 EMI CD which I produced you can also visit my mini website at

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Download EMI's "Best of" album on iTunes....

Great news you can now download "The Best of the EMI Years" collection of hits and rarities on iTunes.

Just click HERE to buy the entire album or specific songs from it. Do also post your own reviews for this album on the iTunes website.


Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Share your verdict on the new CD!

On Monday, 16 June 2008, EMI (UK) release their first new Proby compilation for 10 years.

If you approve of what we have done do share your views with other music lovers on some of the biggest and best online stores. Help encourage others to support this release by posting a review on the CD at, and

An iTunes release will be coming soon. So stay tuned for that!

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Another price drop for the Proby CD...

Retailer has dropped its price to match the deal offered by The CD now sells at their store for £4.98.

Don't worry if you had already ordered your copy from they have a "Pre-order Price Guarantee". This means if the price decreases between the time you place your order and the release date, you'll be charged the lowest price.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

EMI Australia to release the NEW CD!

The good news is EMI Australia have just confirmed that they will be pressing the new CD locally for an Australian release on 2 August 2008. The expected retail down-under will be no more than $10AUSD.

Monday, 2 June 2008

NEW CD sells for £4.99 with FREE UK delivery!

After lots of polite requests have finally agreed to stock the new CD. The best part is for a limited time you can order it from their website for just £4.99 with FREE UK delivery!

Click the logo below to buy the CD and support the work I have done:

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Guide to Proby's Essential CDs

These are some of the most essential Proby CDs that are available to order now at Included are original albums, collections of hit singles and other notable rarities:

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

New website to help promote the CD!

To help promote the new CD I have created a dedicated website that provides information such as track listing & soundclips. Please help me now spread the word and encourage advance sales for the CD by linking to this page on your own websites, forums and absolutely anyone else online who you can think of contacting! ;)

Advance Order the new CD now!

Please support my work in getting this CD released by advance ordering it here from or The release date is 16 June 2008 and the CD should retail around £6.99/$15USD.

Monday, 19 May 2008

A 5 year project comes to a close!

Well the last few days has been quite manic as I have been frantically finishing off the packaging side of the CD with EMI. Lots of proofing and tweaking to hopefully make everything look as good as we can within the constraints of a budget CD release.

Just so you know the booklet is 12-pages and contains extensive sleeve notes (inclusive of a mini biography and song by song anecdotes). There are also a few rare shots from the EMI photo archives and a wonderful message to you all from Proby.

Anyhow as of today the project is complete as far as I am concerned. Next step is for it to be manufactured by EMI!

Thursday, 15 May 2008

The CD's artwork revealed!

Here it is hot off the press the CD cover artwork for The Best of the EMI Years: 1961-1972. More details to be announced in the next 7 days.

Oh dear, the stereo version is faulty...

As mentioned previously I now have the entire CD and it sounds wonderful! Proby fans do have a lot to be excited about!!

One slight disappointment is the stereo masters for "Give Me Time" - one of my all-time favourite Proby songs are faulty. So, it has been replaced with a mono version. It is not the end of the world but truthfully you do get a better feel for the orchestra that accompanies Proby in the stereo cut. Two previously unreleased songs of a very Dylan-esque Proby have also been specially mastered by Abbey Road for their world-wide debut.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Finished CD just arrived...

Wow. I now have the remastered CD of songs. Just playing through it now. Amazing to hear songs like "Just Like Him" and "And the Sun Will Shine" cleaned up and sounding sensational!

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Abbey Road hunt for the CD's songs

The latest news is Abbey Road are currently hunting for the master tapes for all the songs that are to feature on the new CD. I am also waiting to see proofs of the booklet/packaging. I am now feeling a tad nervous as I do want everything to go well!

Check back in the next few weeks as I plan to provide song clips, full track listing, bio, artwork and links to buy the CD!

Just sent EMI my finished liner notes...

I just handed in my liner notes for the CD. What I have done is written a mini biography and anecdotes for each included song. I hope EMI and PJ likes it all. I must again pay tribute to the Probyans who have helped me along the way. They are some of the nicest people I have met whilst working on a project like this. Full of great ideas and constructive comments. "Thank you" - you all know who you are!

One final thing, this weekend I got a CD of photos from my visit on the 10 April to EMI's archives. I think from what I have now seen we have found the perfect cover and back sleeve. Above is the EMI owned shot I'd like to see used on the back of the CD. Hope you all like it!

Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Track listing ready to roll

Great news. EMI have today confirmed that the proposed track listing has been approved. This is yet another step closer to the CD release becoming a reality!

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Picking photographs for the CD packaging

Well today I met with my contact at EMI Records (UK) and we went through their batch of original promotional photographs, negatives and slides. Although I had done this five years ago I was pleased this time around to find a lot of shots that I simply can not recall having seen before. My aim was to focus on finding images of Proby that were taken during his beard and moustache phase (like the one shown in my blog of the 26 March 2008). This look is said to be Proby's favourite from this era.

The good news is my visit was productive as we did find a nice batch of very tasteful b&w and colour shots. I sincerely think these will really please fans but most importantly do the great man justice. The next step will be for EMI's art department to scan hi-res images that can be reviewed before packaging is finalised.

Whilst there I also got to show EMI my draft booklet notes. They asked me to edit these as we only have a 12-page booklet to play around with. So, I am now working hard to reduce my text!

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Facts & interesting articles about the songs

Now you know the songs that I hope will be on the new CD (listed in my post of the 26 March) do you have any articles or information about them?

I am finalising my notes this week and have already researched quite a bit but you never know you may tell me something I didn't know. Especially as I was born after the songs and albums they came from were all originally released!

To the guy who works for EMI USA do please email me urgently.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Track listing revealed

Well it has been a long time coming but I thought I'd share the songs that I have sequenced into what I believe to be a lovely new CD collection.

The idea was always to pick songs that appeal to a wide variety of people from casual music lovers to longterm fans. So yes we have some of the hits and songs from each of Proby's albums from this period but we also have a nice handful of rarities. EMI are now in the process of sorting the legalities of using these songs. Touch wood everything will be okay. More news as it breaks.

01. MARIA (Stereo)
02. GIVE ME TIME (Stereo)
03. JUST LIKE HIM (Mono) +
04. MY PRAYER (Stereo)
05. ANSWER ME (Mono)
06. HOLD ME (Mono)
08. SOMEWHERE (Mono)
09. MISSION BELL (Stereo Version) +
11. I'M COMING HOME (Stereo)
14. CUTTIN' IN (Stereo)
16. I CAN'T MAKE IT ALONE (Double Vocal Harmony) (Mono)
17. WHAT'S ON YOUR MIND (Mono) +
18. IF I LOVED YOU (Stereo)
19. CLOWN SHOES (Stereo) +
21. NIKI HOEKY (Stereo)
22. DADDY'S HOME (Stereo)
23. WE'LL MEET AGAIN (Stereo) +
+ Debut on CD format


Monday, 17 March 2008

Mr. Proby writes a message!

I was thrilled today that Mr. Proby contributed a rather poetic and fitting message for the CD project. My liner notes are also progressing and everything looks on track for a release this June. I would love to think that EMI world-wide will release this CD regionally as it will feature international hits and will be a wonderful tribute to the great P.J. Proby!

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Does anyone have any articles on Proby?

I am drafting liner notes at the moment for my CD project...

As you all know the CD is focusing on Proby's signing to Liberty Records (1961-71). Does anyone out there in cyber space have any articles about Proby from this era? What I am looking for are any reviews of his albums, articles that discuss his music...really anything about this time of his singing career.

If you can help I would be grateful if you can scan and email me anything you think would be of interest. Please do get in touch if you can assist.

Monday, 18 February 2008

A superb song by Jim Ford

Songwriter Jim Ford wrote Proby's US hit "Niki Hoeky". As mentioned in my "Lost Recordings" post Proby was said to have also recorded a few more songs penned by Ford...

You can currently hear another version of one of these songs sung by Brinsley Schwarz. Click the link and have a listen to it. Sounds like a great track and something reminiscent of the classic sounds of The Eagles: I'm Ahead If I Can Quit While I'm Behind

A reply from EMI

EMI kindly responded to my email containing the finished CD proposal: "This is great Stephen, thanks..."

It looks like my efforts have not been in vein. I feel so positive about my choice of songs. They give any newbie fan a wonderful insight into Proby and his versatility as a singer. Next job is for me to start writing the liner notes. I have until the end of March 2008 to finish those.

I just finished revising my CD proposal...

Well after a week or so of playing and playing Proby's music I have now finished making some amendments to my original CD proposal. These are what I consider to be improvements that really strengthen the overall appeal and the diverse sound of the collection.

I just this minute emailed EMI the finished 25-track CD proposal which I tentatively call "The Best of the EMI Years (1961-72)". I now anxiously await to hear if they like the changes - fingers crossed!

Before I go can anyone help confirm who the producer and arranger is for the B-side singles "Quando Tornera" and "I Don't Want To Hear It Anymore"?

Friday, 8 February 2008

Proby's LOST recordings (1964-1972)

During my research into Proby's music career there have been a lot of talk about recordings that for whatever reason just missed out on a release. Let us call them the LOST and forgotten songs...

The most famous of these would have to be the 1968 power-ballad "Delilah" which was penned by Les Reed and Barry Mason. Legend has it that Proby was the first to be given this song but he fell out of love with the tune after recording it. "Delilah" was subsequently dropped by Proby's request from his 1968 album "Believe it or Not". It later found its way to pop star Tom Jones who had a massive hit with it!

Below is a list of other recordings rumoured to exist from Proby's signing to Liberty/EMI. Please do get in touch if you can help confirm any of this.

Fact or fiction?

  • This Flower (Part 1&2) & Polly's Ballad (circa 1965)
    [These songs may have been out-takes from the "P.J. Proby...In Town" album - likely produced by Ron Richards and arranged by Johnny Scott.]

  • Liberty & I’m Going Home (circa 1965)
    [Possibly recorded at a similar time to Proby's Top 20 hit “I Apologise”.]

  • Waiting time (circa 1965)
    [Another song said to have been produced by Ron Richards and arranged by Johnny Scott.]

  • The Chase (circa 1966)
    [It was likely recorded during the sessions for Proby's San Remo single "Quando Tornera" and produced by Ron Richards.]

  • Delilah & Melody of Love (circa 1968)
    [We all know the story behind "Delilah" and in recent years songwriter Les Reed has confirmed he even has an acetate of it - so we know it exists! The other mentioned tune is yet another believed out-take from the "Believe it or Not" sessions.]

  • Run Run Run (circa 1969)
    [Likely produced by Steve Rowland and featuring Amory Kane - possibly an out-take from the "Three Week Hero" sessions??]

  • The Gift of Love (circa 1970)
    [A track cut during the sessions for "It's Goodbye" which was Proby's final single for Liberty Records.]

  • Ju Ju Man, You You You & I'll Be A Head If I Can Quit While I'm Behind (likely "I’m Ahead if I Can Quit...") (circa 1971)
    [From what I understand these songs were written by the late songwriter Jim Ford who penned Proby's biggest American hit "Niki Hoeky". These recordings were produced during the singer's final sessions for the Liberty label and were intended for single release (this was not to be). The press of the time also reported that the sessions featured Brinsley Schwarz. ]

  • One Life, Now I Live Again & Birth Life Death (circa 1971)
    [Proby switched to the Columbia label in 1971/2. Only two songs were ever released by them which appeared on the 1972 single "We'll Meet Again". The Texan is however rumoured to have cut these three additional songs at the same time as the single.]

  • I Believe / Jezabel (date unknown)
    [These are two 1950s songs that were made popular by American singer Frankie Laine. Proby is believed to have been cut these tunes during his years at Liberty Records. For now, you can enjoy a mighty fine 1960s performance of "I Believe" on youtube and a new re-recording of it on his 2002 album "His Hand In Mine".]

  • Misty Roses (date unknown)
    [American folk musician/composer Tim Hardin wrote this beautiful song in the mid-1960s. Proby is said to have recorded it.]

  • Les Bicyclettes de Belsize (date unknown)
    [This was the title song from a 1968 short first. Engelbert Humperdinck had a hit with it and Proby is said to have also recorded a version.]

  • Pay the Piper /In Ever Dream A Heartache (date unknown)
    [Two final songs that I know very little about but are rumoured to have been recorded.]

Thanks to the following people who advised me when compiling this listing: Ron Tennant, Mikael Ekström (author), Tommy Barrett and Jenny Lesser.

Your all-time TOP 5 songs? (1961-72)

What is your all-time favourite Top 5 recordings from Mr. Proby's years at Liberty Records? Post your views here. This can be made up of hit singles, B-sides, album songs whatever you consider to be his finest moments released between 1961 and 1972.

Here's mine...
  1. Maria
  2. Give Me Time
  3. Just Like Him
  4. My Prayer
  5. And The Sun Will Shine

Thursday, 7 February 2008

No need to take a stand just yet....

I know many of you have been wanting to contact EMI to express how much you want this CD. Can I just say this really isn't necessary and may have a negative impact on things.

If you do want to help what you can do is spread the word about this blog. The most important thing for now is to get people talking about the new CD and Mr. Proby's years at Liberty Records. What better place to make comments and show your support than right here! :)

More updates hopefully due Friday, so stay tuned and feel free to email me direct.

Monday, 4 February 2008

Previously released recordings waiting a digital makeover

Between 1989 and 1996, many of Proby's previously released recordings made for Liberty Records were given a digital makeover. We were treated to an abundance of CD releases that included a lavish 2CD boxset from EMI Records "Rough Velvet" (1992) plus various original album re-issues and compilations from the now defunct labels C5 Records & See-For-Miles.

You may be asking yourself though "are there many single or album recordings now waiting for their CD debut?". Well below is the list as it stands when I post this blog. Touch wood some of these may form part of my "70th Birthday" CD project.


  • There Stands The One
    (Dick Glasser)
    [This was the
    B-side for the 1961 single "Try To Forget Her" which was Proby's US debut for Liberty Records. There is a real country twang to Proby's voice here. The backing also sounding very reminiscent of what you'd expect from a Jim Reeves record. Both sides of this single were accompanied by the Johnny Mann singers (who later went on to host the popular US TV series Stand Up and Cheer) with Glen Campbell on guitar, Leon Russell on keyboards, David Gates on bass and Hal Blane on drums/string section. This track was later used by the UK as the B-side to 1964 single "Try to Forget Her".]

  • Watch Me Walk Away
    (Dick Glasser)
    [An upbeat pop song (very Gene Pitney-esque) which Proby defiantly belts out to great effect! It's got passion and lots of gusto, quite surprising therefore it only featured as a B-side to the 1962 US single "The Other Side of Town". ]

  • So Do I
    (Donna Kohler)
    ["So Do I" could easily have been penned for the late and great country star Johnny Cash. Proby adopts a very gritty Cash sound to his voice. The song was the A-side to a 1963 US only single.]

  • I Can't Take It Like You Can
    (Justin Tubb/Teddy Wilburn)
    [B-side to 1963 US only single "So Do I". It is a very mellow song and performance that runs in parallel to the Jim Reeves' hit "He'll Have To Go". At times Proby's voice even exudes a velvet smooth tone often found in Marty Robbins' voice.]

  • Darlin'
    (James Marcus Smith aka P.J. Proby)
    [This rock 'n' roll number was released by Proby under the alias of "Orville Woods" and issued as an A-side to a 1963 US only single. It's only a 2-minite affair but doesn't fail to grab your attention as Proby screeches out the chorus line on a par with Little Richard.]

  • Wicked Woman (Alternate Take)
    (James Marcus Smith aka P.J. Proby)
    [Flip side to the 1963 US only single "Darlin'". It's another Proby-penned Rock 'n' Roll number but the take which has eluded a CD release is the alternate "slower" version.]

  • Sweet and Tender Romance (Alternate Take)
    (John Carter/Ken Lewis/Johnny Powell)
    [It's amazing to think this song went under the radar of sixties pop pundits as it is a good beat-pop song. Proby's rendition is also a mighty fine one at that. However, the only act to have a real hit with it was the Australian vocal duo Bobby & Laurie who charted it downunder. Although the standard version of this song was released on CD a more obscure take exists that was an exclusive B-side to Proby's 1964 Dutch single of "Together".]

  • Just Like Him
    (Jackie DeShannon)
    [If ever there was a song that has taken on a genuine "cult" status then it is this one which was written specially for Proby by his long-time friend Jackie DeShannon. This beautiful ballad truly deserved more than to be demoted to just a B-side on his 1964 single "Somewhere". It is one of Proby's finest recording moments from the 1960s. There are NO gimmicks just Proby doing what Proby does best and that is being himself! ]

  • What's On Your Mind
    (Nick de Carro)
    [This B-side to the 1965 single "I Apologise" was the yin to this single's yang. The lead song was a firey, passionate ballad and this was laid back and intimately sung with rich full-on vocals. A classic!]

  • I Don't Want To Hear it Anymore
    (Randy Newman)
    [This dramatic story ballad was one of the earliest songs penned by American tunesmith Randy Newman. Newman was in fact just starting out as a songwriter at the time of writing this song having signed his very first publishing deal with Metric (the L.A-based publishing company of Liberty Records). Although critics rank Dusty Springfield's 1969 interpretation in poll position no one should overlook the mighty fine performance given by the great Texan. Proby's version deserved more respectful treatment than being used as just a B-side to his 1965 single "Let The Water Run Down". Yet another gem!]

  • I Can't Make It Alone (Alternate "Double-Vocal" Take)
    (Gerry Goffin/Carole King)
    [An alternate take of a song featured on Proby's album "Enigma". This particular version has a unique dramatic "double-vocal" harmony by Proby that is inspired by the Righteous Brothers' #1 hit "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'". It's a top notch tune with or without the added effect. This particular take was only used as an A-side to Proby's 1966 single and also on his 1967 E.P "Proby Again".]

  • Quando Tornera
    (Gentile / Lentini)
    [During the 1960s, the international pop charts were awash with Italian power-ballads, such as Cilla Black's "You're My World" and Dusty Springfield's "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me". Of norm, these tunes were translated for English artists into their native tongue but in this case the Texan delivered a convincing performance sung in Italian! This 1966 single was released in Italy and Germany for the prestigious European music festival "San Remo". It was the B-side to "Per Questo Voglio Te".]

  • And The Sun Will Shine
    (Barry Gibb, Maurice Gibb & Robin Gibb)
    [There is no doubt that the Gibb brothers have penned some pretty standout pop tunes during their career. This one originates from the Bee Gees' 1968 album "Horizontal". On this occasion I actually think Proby has the edge on the group's original. This song was an exclusive track for the US edition of his "Believe it or Not" album (released stateside as "What's Wrong With My World" #LST-7561)]

  • It's Goodbye
    [Think Eurovision pop and you won't be far off the mark. This dud of a song was Proby's last single for Liberty Records. It is pale in contrast to the recordings that came before it. In my eyes the disappointing 1970 A-side single should remain a vinyl-only release. Sorry Mr. Proby!]

  • We'll Meet Again
    (Hughie Charles / Ross Parker)
    [Everyone will know this wartime tearjerker as it was the million-selling signature tune for British songbird Vera Lynn. Never in a millions years though would I have expected P.J. Proby to sing it. Give the man his dues he really does give the 1930s song a new lease of life with a very slick Las Vegas showman style makeover. The 1972 A-side single is big, bold and yet another belter!]

  • Clown Shoes
    (James Marcus Smith aka P.J. Proby)
    [Just after Proby departed EMI's "Liberty" label there was a short-lived switch to their "Columbia" label. This is the B-side to Columbia's 1972 single "We'll Meet Again" which was Proby's last release during this acclaimed era details on my site (1961-72). Ths song is a re-recording of one of Proby's own compositions which he had first cut in the early 1960s. I personally prefer the arrangement of Proby's original version which was also taken up in the hit rendition by Johnny Burnette. For me, this 1970s reprisal is overly orchestrated - too much for such a pretty ditty!]

[ Footnote: I don't believe EMI (UK) hold any of Proby's pre-1964 American A&B-sides with exception of those that made it onto a UK single. Also I have not come across the alternate takes of "Wicked Woman" and "Sweet and Tender Romance". It is not to say the original tapes don't exist somewhere around the world but I again do not believe the UK holds them. Thus, any project I am working on is unlikely to be able to include these unique versions! ]

My sincere thanks to the following Probyans who helped me compile this list: Jan Sonesson, Björn Lund, Joep Kilkens and Steve Bailey.

Can anyone help solve the STEREO mystery?

It was in 1958, that the first vinyl albums were pressed in STEREO format. The American music market jumped on the STEREO bandwagon much quicker than its UK counterparts. Thus, there were some initial differences to what UK fans could get of Proby's music in STEREO.

This is now where I seek some clarification from the Probyans out there in cyber space as I am not 100% certain about what recordings (if any) still require a release on CD in STEREO format.

The STEREO album releases which I am concerned about are:

  1. The unique 1964 American album "Somewhere" (LP #LST-7406). This featured songs that were only released as MONO in the UK. Some of these recordings became hit singles (e.g. "Somewhere", "Hold Me" and "Together") and others were spread between Proby's debut UK LP "I Am P.J. Proby" and E.P "P.J. Proby". As I don't own this LP I'd like to confirm of ALL the tracks on it genuinely were in STEREO? Perhaps, someone can kindly play their copy and confirm this for me;

  2. Proby's stunning 1965 eponymous album (LP #LST-7421). Some of the recordings from this I know for sure have been released in STEREO by EMI (UK) on their 1992 2CD set "Rough Velvet". That now leaves "Mission Bell", "The Nearness of You", "Lonely Weekends", "She Cried", "Secret Love", "Lonely Teardrops" and "With These Hands".

    What I don't know however is whether any STEREO versions for these remaining tracks crept into EMI's recent 2on1 CD re-issue or any other compilation CD. Can anyone answer that???

Thursday, 31 January 2008

What a great month June 2008 could be...

Had a quick chat with EMI about making some changes to the initial Proby CD project that I submitted. Agreed to tweak it slightly as there are just a few changes I now feel inclined to make. EMI mentioned the CD is something that could come out as early as Monday, 2 June 2008.

It's still early days but I'm feeling positive and enjoying discovering Proby's music again. I just hope fans will respond to a few questions I need to resolve, such as my STEREO mystery.

Monday, 28 January 2008

Proby Again (1967 Extended Play)

Proby Again (1967)
Liberty / Mono #LEP 2267

  1. I Can't Make It Alone
  2. Try To Forget Her
  3. Let The Water Run Down
  4. You've Come Back

"This was Proby's last UK E.P released during his Liberty signing and what a mixed bag of songs it offered. It included his debut US single "Try To Forget Her" from 1961, the 'Top 20' single "Let The Water Run Down", a B-side "You've Come Back" and of particular interest to collector's an alternate take of "I Can't Make It Alone" (a song from his album "Enigma"). This particular version featured a dramatic "double vocal" harmony by Proby that took inspiration from the Righteous Brothers' #1 hit "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'."

P.J.'s Hits (1966 Extended Play)

P.J.'s Hits (1966)
Liberty / Mono #LEP 2251

  1. Hold Me
  2. Together
  3. That Means A Lot
  4. Maria

"Included here are four A-side singles that were originally released in the UK between 1964 and 1965."

Christmas with P.J. (1965 Extended Play)

Christmas with P.J. (1965)
Liberty / Mono #LEP 2239

  1. Christmas Song (Merry Chrismas To You)
  2. Silent Night
  3. White Christmas
  4. Rain On Snow

"The songs for this festive E.P were recorded during the making of Proby's "P.J. Proby...In Town" album, with exception of "Rain On Snow" which was cut during the making of Proby previous album "P.J. Proby"."

Somewhere (1965 Extended Play)

Somewhere (1965)
Liberty / Mono #LEP 2229
  1. Hold What You've Got
  2. I Love Therefore I Am
  3. I Apologise
  4. Somewhere

"This best-selling E.P featured two of Proby's chart hits as well as a couple songs that were unique to this format, these included a cover of Joe Tex's American 'Top 5' hit "Hold What You've Got" and the stunning ballad "I Love Therefore I Am"."

P.J. Proby (1965 Extended Play)

P.J. Proby (1965)
Liberty / Mono #LEP 2192

  1. Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart
  2. Linda Lu
  3. Answer Me
  4. Stagger Lee

"Proby's first E.P was brimming with recordings that until this point had not been released outside the USA. All these songs originated from Proby's 1964 American debut L.P "Somewhere" with exception of Proby's up-tempo cover of Frankie Laine's hit "Answer Me" which premiered here."

California License (1970 studio album)

California License (1970)
Liberty / Stereo #LBS 83320
  1. Caledonia
  2. Daddy`s Home
  3. Bop Ting A Ling
  4. Linda Lu
  5. Hound Dog
  6. Stranded in the Jungle
  7. Tommorow Night
  8. Mio Amore‑I Am Yours‑My Love
  9. Stagger Lee
  10. Blue Moon/Cherry Pei/Silhouettes
  11. Forever My Darling
  12. Rockin Pneumonia

"This was Proby's last studio album before he finished his contract with Liberty Records. It found the Texan in a very reflective mood, reminiscing on his early years when he used the stage name "Jett Powers" (pre-P.J. Proby) and was just another unknown who performed to the club circuits of Los Angeles. This project provided Proby with a golden opportunity to now record some of his favourite "doo-wop" and "rock 'n' roll" classics which he had often included in his live shows of the 1950s/early '60s. The album's sessions were held at Abbey Road and featured Emile Ford and The Checkmates. These produced nine all-new recordings which were then topped up by three "previously released" numbers (i.e. "Linda Lu", "Stagger Lee" and "Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu"). Standout tracks for me are Proby's up-tempo renditions of Shep & The Limelites #2 hit "Daddy's Home" and his wonderful take of The Flamingos' single "Mio Amore". "

Three Week Hero (1969 studio album)

Three Week Hero (1969)
Liberty / Stereo #LBS 83219E

  1. Three Week Hero
  2. The Day That Lorraine Came Down
  3. Little Friend
  4. Empty Bottles
  5. Reflections (Of Your Face)
  6. Won't Be Long
  7. Sugar Mama
  8. I Have a Dream
  9. It's Too Good to Last
  10. New Directions
  11. Today I Killed a Man
  12. Medley: It's So Hard To Be A Nigger/Jim's Blues/George Wallace Is Rollin' In This Mornin'

"Recorded in September 1968, this playful, edgy album was a real departure from Proby's trademark pop sound of the 1960s as it veered acutely towards blues, rock and country. The project is notable for being the first occasion that all four members of the English rock-band Led Zepellin recorded together in the studio [album credits: Jimmy Page (guitar), Robert Plant (harmonica), John Paul Jones (bass guitar / keyboards) and John Bonham (drums / conga)]."

Proby recalls: "...Come the last day we found we had some studio time, so I just asked the band to play while I just came up with the words. ... They weren't Led Zeppelin at the time, they were the New Yardbirds and they were going to be my band..."

Believe it or Not (1968 studio album)

Believe it or Not (1968)
Liberty / Mono #LBY 83087 & Stereo #LBS 83087
  1. When Love Has Passed You by
  2. I'm Coming Home
  3. Give Me Time
  4. Turn Her Away
  5. Mary in the Morning
  6. It's Your Day Today
  7. I Shall Be Released
  8. Cry Baby
  9. Why Baby Why
  10. I've Got My Eyes on You
  11. I Apologise Baby
  12. Judy in the Junkyard

"This album was released in the US with a slightly different style cover sleeve. The stateside edition also traded "Judy in the Junkyard" and "I Shall Be Released" for two of my all-time favourite Proby recordings: "What's Wrong With My World" and his rendition of Bee Gees' classic "And The Sun Will Shine" which was an exclusive for the American market."

Phenomenon (1967 studio album)

Phenomenon (1967)
Liberty / Mono #LBY 83045 & Stereo #LBS 83045
  1. Just Holding On
  2. Mama Told Me Not To Come
  3. Work With Me Annie
  4. Ling Ting Tong
  5. Honey Hush
  6. Straight Up
  7. Butterfly High
  8. She's Looking Good
  9. You Can't Come Home Again (If You Leave Me Now)
  10. Pretty Girls Everywhere
  11. Good Rockin' Tonight
  12. Sanctification

Enigma (1966 studio album)

Enigma (1966)
Liberty / Mono #LBY 1361 & Stereo #SLBY 1361
  1. Niki Hoeky (S)
  2. Shake Shake Shake (S)
  3. Reach Out I'll Be There (S)
  4. That's The Tune (S)
  5. Out Of Time (S)
  6. Don't Forget About Me (S)
  7. People That's Why (S)
  8. I Wanna' Thank You Baby (S)
  9. I'm Twenty Eight (S)
  10. Angelica (S)
  11. I Can't Make It Alone (S)
  12. You Make Me Feel Like Someone (S)

P.J. Proby...In Town (1965 studio album)

P.J. Proby...In Town (1965)
Liberty / Mono #LBY 1291 & Stereo #SLBY 1291
  1. What Kind Of Fool Am I
  2. To Make A Big Man Cry
  3. No Other Love
  4. Walk Hand In Hand
  5. People
  6. It Ain't Necessarily So
  7. Some Enchanted Evening
  8. Come Back To Me
  9. We Kiss In A Shadow
  10. If I Ruled The World
  11. Maria
  12. I Could Write A Book

P. J Proby (1965 studio album)

P.J Proby (1965)
Liberty / Mono #LBY 1264

  1. My Prayer
  2. I Will
  3. Mission Bell
  4. The Nearness Of You
  5. Lonely Weekends
  6. If I Loved You
  7. When I Fall In Love
  8. She Cried
  9. Secret Love
  10. I Will Come To You
  11. Lonely Teardrops
  12. With These Hands

"Although the original vinyl LP was only released in the UK in mono format a stereo version does exist and was issued stateside (Stereo LP / #LST-7421). The stereo takes of "The Nearness Of You" and "Lonely Teardrops" are also significantly different vocally to their mono counterparts."

I Am P. J Proby (1964 studio album)

I Am P. J Proby (1964)
Liberty / Mono #LBY 1235

  1. Whatever Will Be, Will Be
  2. It's No Good for Me
  3. Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu
  4. The Masquerade is Over
  5. Glory of Love
  6. I'll Go Crazy
  7. Question
  8. You Don't Love Me No More
  9. Don't Worry Baby
  10. Just Call and I'll Be There
  11. Louisiana Man
  12. Cuttin' in

Scrapbook of my favourite Proby photographs...

This is a collection of some of my favourite photographs of the legendary P.J. Proby taken during his years at Liberty Records. Included are Liberty's promotional photographs, live performance stills and press shots.

My "thank you" to the fans

I mentioned on my debut blog about the fact some of P.J's fans (or probyans) had been a great help at familiarising me with the extent of P.J recording career.

Well it seems a good time now to pay tribute to these guys as their support and advice fuelled my fire to do something on Mr. Proby.

"A big thank you to Joep Kilkens, Jan Sonesson, Ron Tennant, Björn Lund, Hans Buijze and the late Auke Hendrik Middel..."

The Life and Career of the great P.J. Proby


UK Chart Hits (1964-1972)

"Hold Me" (1964) - #3.
"Together" (1964) - #8.
"Somewhere" (1964) - #6.
"I Apologise" (1965) - #11.
"Let The Water Run Down" (1965) - #19.
"That Means A Lot" (1965) - #30.
"Maria" (1965) - #8.
"You've Come Back" (1966) - #25.
"To Make A Big Man Cry" (1966) - #34.
"I Can't Make It Alone" (1966) - #37.
"It's Your Day Today" (1968) - #32.

"P.J. Proby" (1965) - #13
"Somewhere" (1965) - #19

"I Am P.J. Proby" (1964) - #16

UK E.Ps Discography

P.J.Proby (1965)
Somewhere (1965)
Christmas with P.J. (1965)
P.J.'s Hits (1966)
Proby Again (1967)

UK Single Discography

Below is a list of Proby's 7" [45-rpm] singles that were released in the UK between 1964 and 1972 by EMI's Liberty & Columbia labels. This listing spans from Proby's debut UK single release to the last that he made before breaking ties with the recording giant.

[ Note: Although, Proby had been signed to Liberty Records since 1961 he temporarily absconded from them circa 1964. Thus, his first two UK singles were actually songs cut for the Decca label. Liberty Records however later won a court battle to get the star back under its umbrella. Thus, I have included the Decca releases here as they are now owned by the EMI group. ]

Hold Me (1964)
Decca / #F.11904

  1. Hold Me

  2. The Tip Of My Fingers

Together (1964)
Decca / #F.11967

  1. Together

  2. Sweet And Tender Romance

Try To Forget Her (1964)
Liberty / #LIB 55367

  1. Try To Forget Her

  2. There Stands The One

Somewhere (1964)
Liberty / #LIB 10182

  1. Somewhere
    (from the musical "West Side Story")

  2. Just Like Him

I Apologise (1965)
Liberty / #LIB 10188

  1. I Apologise

  2. What's on Your Mind

Let The Water Run Down (1965)
Liberty / #LIB 10206

  1. Let The Water Run Down

  2. I Don't Want To Hear It Anymore

That Means A Lot (1965)
Liberty / #LIB 10215

  1. That Means A Lot

  2. My Prayer
    [from the 1965 album "P.J. Proby"]

Maria (1965)
Liberty / #LIB 10218

  1. Maria
    (from the musical "West Side Story")
    [from the 1965 album "P.J. Proby...In Town"]

  2. She Cried
    [from the 1965 album "P.J. Proby"]

You've Come Back (1966)
Liberty / #LIB 10223

  1. You've Come Back

  2. It Ain't Necessarily So
    [from the 1965 album "P.J. Proby...In Town"]

To Make A Big Man Cry (1966)
Liberty / #LIB 10236

  1. To Make A Big Man Cry
    [from the 1965 album "P.J. Proby...In Town"]

  2. Wicked Woman

I Can't Make It Alone (1966)
Liberty / #LIB 10250

  1. I Can't Make It Alone
    [from the 1966 album "Enigma"]

  2. Sweet Summer Wine

Niki Hoeky (1967)
Liberty / #LIB 55936

  1. Niki Hoeky
    [from the 1966 album "Enigma"]

  2. Good Things Are Coming My Way

You Can't Come Home Again (If You Leave Me Now) (1967)
Liberty / #LIB 55974

  1. You Can't Come Home Again (If You Leave Me Now)
    [from the 1967 album "Phenomenon"]

  2. Work With Me Annie
    [from the 1967 album "Phenomenon"]

It's Your Day Today (1968)
Liberty / #LIB 15046

  1. It's Your Day Today
    [from the 1968 album "Believe it or Not"]

  2. I Apologise Baby
    [from the 1968 album "Believe it or Not"]

What's Wrong With My World (1968)
Liberty / #LIB 15085

  1. What's Wrong With My World

  2. Why Baby Why
    [from the 1968 album "Believe it or Not"]

The Day That Lorraine Came Down (1968)
Liberty / #LIB 15152

  1. The Day That Lorraine Came Down
    [from the 1969 album "Three Week Hero"]

  2. Mery Hopkins Never Had Days Like This

Hanging From Your Loving Tree (1969)
Liberty / #LIB 15245

  1. Hanging From Your Loving Tree

  2. Empty Bottles
    [from the 1969 album "Three Week Hero"]

Today I Killed A Man (1969)
Liberty / #LIB 15280

  1. Today I Killed A Man
    [from the 1969 album "Three Week Hero"]

  2. It's Too Good To Last
    [from the 1969 album "Three Week Hero"]

It's Goodbye (1970)
Liberty / #LIB 15386

  1. It's Goodbye

  2. It's Too Good To Last
    [from the 1969 album "Three Week Hero"]

We'll Meet Again (1972)
Columbia / #DB 8874

  1. We'll Meet Again

  2. Clown Shoes

UK Album Discography

Monday, 14 January 2008

A tentative green light from EMI

Had an unexpected email from my contact at EMI. It looks like he liked the "70th Birthday" project idea I submitted. Maybe 2nd time around my CD will get the go ahead.

"Thanks very much for the PJ CDR, I know that you have been banging his drum for a while and as it's his 70th this year it seems a good time to do it..."

Friday, 11 January 2008

My bright idea? I think...

Well today I came up with the bright idea to start a blog that will follow the progress or my failure to get a new CD out to celebrate P.J. Proby's "70th Birthday".

Just to give you some background. In the late 1990s, I discovered Proby's music thanks to my Mum who had long admired the great Texan. In particular, she was fond of an obscure B-side ballad "Just Like Him" which she couldn't find anywhere on CD. This fed my curiousity and soon enough my eyes were opened to the man's vocal genuis and how much I enjoyed his Liberty/EMI work!

In 2003, at a meeting with EMI to discuss a Cilla Black anniversary boxset release I raised issue about doing a new Proby compilation. Although, I got an initial thumbs up the project sadly wasn't to be...

No matter. I did get as far as doing some research into Proby's recording career and thanks to the wonders of the web made contact with some of Proby's biggest fans (or Probyans as they refer to themselves). They at least alerted me to the fact that there were some worthy recordings deserving a digital makeover. Thus, my quest to get some of these out on CD began!

Today, yet again I am trying to rekindle interest from EMI. As said before it is Proby's "70th Birthday" and now seems as good a time as any to try. So, I have prepared a CDR sampler of suggested songs and drawn up a project that I am mailing off to them which I tentatively call "The Birthday Collection (Best of 1964-1972)".

Time will tell if anything comes of this. Fingers crossed! ;)